Meet the first deaf-blind student to graduate from Harvard Law School – Haben Girma

haben girma

Haben Girma is deaf and blind!! The reason that makes Haben special is, she is the first deaf-blind student to graduate from Harvard Law School.

Haben Girma was born in California, after her mother Saba fled to America as a teenager seeking a better life in the early 1980’s. Haben Girma found lots of opportunities while growing up in the US school system. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and protects their rights. Haben got the opportunities like access to education and technology, digital Braille device, things that her elder brother who is also born deaf-blind, didn’t get in Eritrea, Africa.




The schools I attended as a child practiced inclusion. These were mainstream public schools with a diverse population. The teachers provided Braille instruction and all other accommodations I needed. All students deserve access. But a lot of schools today choose not to practice inclusion. We need to change this, says Haben Girma.

Haben attended public schools in Oakland. She used to leave her classes for an hour every day to learn Braille. She went on to do B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland. Haben wanted access to the best resources and training, so she applied to admission to Harvard Law School. Today, Haben Girma is working as a lawyer who advocates for the civil rights of the persons with disabilities. She uses a digital Braille display device and a laptop screen reading software to communicate.